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Russia to create lighter and ‘more pleasant-looking’ android for future Oryol spacecraft

The new android will have a more functional grappling capacity compared to the Fedor robot that recently travelled to the ISS, the company informed

MOSCOW, January 15. /TASS/. The android of the Tester project intended to operate Russia’s future Oryol spacecraft will be lighter, smaller and more pleasant-looking than the Fedor robot that recently travelled to the International Space Station, the press office of the Android Technology Research and Production Association told TASS on Wednesday.

"It will look like a human. It will surely be smaller and lighter than the FEDOR. Visually, it will be more pleasant-looking: a more streamlined design and more plastic elements [that can bend during its movements]," the company said, replying to the corresponding question.

The press office did not rule out that the Tester robot might have fabric protective cover.

As another distinctive feature, the new android will have a more functional grappling capacity, the company informed.

The robot Fedor has human-like five-finger manipulator arms.

The new robot’s final appearance will be defined after its developers sign a contract with Russia’s federal space agency Roscosmos. "If this happens before the end of the quarter, the external look will be determined by late 2020 and ground tests will begin in 2022," the Android Technology press office commented.

Android Technology Executive Director Yevgeny Dudurov earlier told TASS that the robot of the Tester project would operate the Oryol spacecraft during the first two flights. In turn, Roscosmos Executive Director for Long-Term Programs and Science Alexander Bloshenko said in an interview with TASS that the android "will be pushing the buttons," in other words, mechanically interacting with the spacecraft’s control systems.

The first launch of the Oryol spacecraft in its uncrewed version is scheduled for 2023 from the Vostochny spaceport and no docking with the International Space Station is planned during this flight. In 2024, the Oryol spacecraft will perform its second unmanned flight with its subsequent docking with the orbital outpost. Crewed flights aboard the Oryol spacecraft are due to begin in 2025.

The android robot Fedor has been developed by the Android Technology Company and the Advanced Research Fund on a technical assignment from Russia’s Emergencies Ministry. The ‘Rescuer’ robot demonstration prototype was made in 2016. Initially, the robot was dubbed the Avatar but later got its own name FEDOR (Final Experimental Demonstration Object Research).

Before its travel to the space station aboard a Soyuz MS-14 spacecraft in August last year, the android robot got its own name of Skybot F-850 where the letter F stands for its affiliation with the Fedor family of robots.

As Roscosmos Chief Dmitry Rogozin earlier indicated, the Skybot F-850’s basic goals included transmitting telemetry data, determining parameters related to the flight safety, including overloads, and carrying out experiments to test the robot’s operations useful on the external side of the space station.